Flag states’ performance broadly positive, ICS data shows

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The International Chamber of Shipping’s (ICS’) newly-published Flag State Performance Table features positive indicators across the 12 largest flag states, with not more than one negative indicator per flag.

The results showed that, recorded over the course of the 15-year initiative, ongoing improvement continues unabated.

However, the table does indicate that Panama, the world’s largest ship registry with double the tonnage of its nearest competitor, Liberia, has received a red indicator in respect of the USCG Target List (safety). This shows that Panama is on the USCG’s list of targeted flag organisations, with an above-average detention ratio and more than one detention in the course of three years.

Helio Vicente, senior adviser (Policy) at ICS, assured Safety at Sea that the result would not by itself be a negative indictment of the Panama registry or its almost 7,100 registered vessels. “In the event that a flag state, in this case Panama, is missing a single positive indicator in itself this should not be seen as a measurement of overall performance, noting that in some cases there might be legitimate reasons for a flag state to be missing a few positive indicators,” he said.

“While ICS allows the data to speak for itself, if a large number of positive indicators are shown as being absent, this could suggest that performance is unsatisfactory and therefore shipping companies might wish to have further discussions with the flag state concerned to effect any improvements that might be necessary.”

The table also showed various major flag states with no red indicators at all, which included Panama’s nearest competitor Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Hong Kong, Greece and the Bahamas.